What water feature?
April 12, 2010 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Help me make a "water feature" - for visual/aural esthetics, as well as attractive to birds and other wild life.

I am a homeowner, with a small backyard. It's fairly deep shade. I've got a birdbath, and a few bird feeders. I've got some room for a water feature, but not sure quite what I want. So, let me try to explain...

The area I'm thinking of putting it in is a rather wide bed; say 6-8 feet, in the corner of my yard (there are plants there, but nothing I can't move). I think a small pond is overkill, but I'm not dead set against it. But nothing with fish. I've see some nice little fountain type things in home stores & online, but they can be expensive, and I'm cheap.

I'd consider building something (I've seen some nice little homemade dealies on HGTV), but I'm: A) not handy, and 2) not artistic. But I'm willing to try, given a particularly snazzy idea, and halfway decent directions or foolproofitude.

All input - pictures, books, web sites, etc. - is welcome. Thanks!!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I did a simple pond-in-a-barrel in my last back yard and it was a hell of a lot of fun, and easy to boot. You can do it on the super-cheap, and site it wherever you want. I used a big plastic planter that I had laying around (after sealing the bottom). Most plants, though, are going to want a decent amount of direct sun.

The fish would be for mosquito control, but you can accomplish the same thing with mosquito dunks.
posted by jquinby at 8:42 AM on April 12, 2010

If you don't want standing water to prevent mosquitos, pebbles suspended on a wire mesh is effective and pleasing. I created a water feature that is a submerged bucket, with a circle of pond liner over it. On top of that is a 1/2" wide mesh, covered with fairly large pebbles. A small pump, which cost about $20, powers water cascading over a blue sphere. The water flows over the sphere, down through the pebbles, and then gets pumped back up.

The most difficult bit about this was getting the hose from the pump to stay in the sphere. You could do away with that, too, and just use the rose that will probably come with the pump. If you can make a sandwich, you can surely do this. It's no more difficult.

Falling water (rain) is deadly to mosquito eggs, so they probably won't lay in water subject to it.
posted by Solomon at 8:49 AM on April 12, 2010

You might be able to find a pump on freecycle, and maybe even a container that could be used.
posted by theora55 at 10:58 AM on April 12, 2010

Oh and since you say you're cheap, be sure to get an electromagnetic pump like this one:


Although, I'm sure you don't need that kind of power - find a smaller one that'll work for what you're doing. This particular one costs about $2/mo. to pump 600 GPH 24/7! The Rio 90/180 pump 54/85 GPH.
posted by prodevel at 2:08 PM on April 12, 2010

Ah, also - take a look at the local nurseries, pond supply places, and big-box home improvement places. Many of them stock pumps, liners and also have simple 'build it in a weekend' water features, complete with parts lists. I know I've seen variations on the theme described by Solomon above a few times - once with a faux millstone in lieu of the sphere. It's a nice design. Here's another version of the simple 'water bubbler'.
posted by jquinby at 2:22 PM on April 12, 2010

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